Thearon W. Henderson
The best Pac-12 coach of 2012? Almost assuredly David Shaw of Stanford, with Mike Riley of Oregon State and Jim Mora of UCLA.
Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes & California Golden Blogs: I thought about David Shaw, but that defense was incredible, and the offense kind of made its own luck to secure wins. The defensive staff deserves the bulk of the credit for Stanford heading to the Rose Bowl. So I'll give it to Jim Mora, who turned UCLA around into a team that came very very close to going to Pasadena for the first time since....well, last week, but you know what I mean. Mora made some pretty good hires in getting guys like Mazzone and Klemm on his staff, and the results have been instant.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Mike Riley. Riley was under the gun coming off two bad seasons and he returned the Beavers back to their old ways of overachieving. Riley took a team that doesn't have the pure talent of the teams in the upper half of the conference and got them to the Alamo Bowl.
Ryan Rosenblatt, Bruins Nation: David Shaw has Stanford going to their third consecutive BCS bowl (although he didn't lead them to their first) and build an incredibly good defense that could have led them to the national title game if the referees in South Bend had given them a deserved overtime shot against Notre Dame.
Brad Denny, House of Sparky: David Shaw now has Stanford in the "we don't rebuild, we reload" state in which the truly elite programs in the nation reside. His work with the Cardinal was simply incredible, and although Mike Riley and even Jim Mora Jr., Shaw stands a few notches above them.
Kevin Zimmerman, Arizona Desert Swarm: David Shaw. Jim Mora Jr.'s salvaging of whatever culture Rick Neuheisel left behind was surprising and impressive, but on paper UCLA probably has more talent than Stanford.
Sean Reynolds, Block U: Mike Riley & David Shaw. I say give it to both of ‘em. Shaw did an amazing job, but Riley was the most impressive in terms of preseason expectations.
Michael Preston, Coug Center: I'll give it to Mike Riley. Hard to imagine him ever being on an even slightly warm seat at Oregon State but that might've been the case before this season. Finishing 9-3 with your conference losses coming to Oregon, Stanford and Washington is pretty impressive. The Washington loss may not sound impressive but, ya know, the power of Tanzania at CenturyLink and all.
Adam Butler, Pacific Takes & Pac Hoops: Hard not to give it to David Shaw as I think this year really cemented him as a legitimate coach; not just the one who ran with Harbaugh's kids, namely Andrew Luck. He overcame the foregone and the impossible in beating Oregon and is basically a one-yard drive from being in the national title game.
Scott Allen, Rule of Tree: In leading Stanford to the Rose Bowl, he did something that Jim Harbaugh never did, and he did it without Andrew Luck. Shaw also beat every other serious candidate for Pac-12 Coach of the Year head to head.